Alliance Housing’s Northside Supportive Housing for Families program offers habit building coaching and quality affordable housing to help families break the cycle of generational poverty and homelessness.
- Participants earn subsidies for hours worked to incentivize behavior that will support their transition from a welfare-reliant life into the working class.
- Families who acquire the education and skills to move entirely off of assistance are unlikely to return to homelessness and will end the cycle of generational poverty.
Stories From Our Tenants
LaToya’s energetic spirit and hopeful attitude are contagious from the moment you meet her. She is a working mother who is passionate about making her neighborhood in North Minneapolis a safe and loving community for her children and neighbors. She is involved with community boards and plans to work on Keith Ellison’s campaign in the upcoming months, helping get her neighbors and friends registered to vote. She is in conversation with a community council about building a youth center built in the Harrison neighborhood. She is working at a printing and bindery company part time while going to school, and is hoping to get a job at the Guthrie Theater in the upcoming months to have a shorter commute, better hours, and help connect her friends with the arts. Her three children are doing well, with her oldest two getting straight A’s, helping get their younger brother off to school in the morning while LaToya is at work. She is grateful and proud that one of her daughters received a district scholarship to attend Space Camp in Houston, TX, a dream she has had for years. She has faith that North Minneapolis can and will become a thriving community, where people can feel safe and friendly with their neighbors.
Positivity is one of the many reasons LaToya is where she is today, however, getting to this place of hope hasn’t been easy. This March, she proudly celebrated one year with our Northside Supportive Housing for Families program, and her many milestones and plans for the future show how much housing stability has made a difference in her life. Just over a year ago, LaToya was living in an abandoned house, unstable and afraid, with her children living with their grandmother. She recalls meeting with her son, unable to afford dinner at a restaurant so she took him to a soup kitchen instead, hoping he wouldn’t know the difference. After spending 40 days in a family shelter, she got a low wage job and applied for our NSHF program. Since being in the program, with her coach Melanie’s encouragement, she has enrolled in a 12 week program at Rise that focuses on empowerment, readiness, and employment. Through this, she was connected a job with a temp agency that is paying higher wages and providing her with opportunities for moving up. She is thriving in the program, and has a goal of becoming an empowerment coach herself.
However, LaToya will be the first to admit that it took her awhile to get to even applying for the program at Rise. Three weeks into the program with Alliance, LaToya shut Melanie out—“I was still living in fear and didn’t believe I was really safe again. It really took the support from Alliance, when I did finally talk to Melanie, to realize that I no longer needed to be afraid.” Through Melanie’s persistent approach, LaToya began to trust her and started to believe things were going to be okay. With a year of housing stability, she has started letting go of her fear, and from that has come a fountain of hope. “Since I’ve let go of my fear, I’ve been doing so much better. Now I can say, let’s figure out what’s for dinner tonight, when a year ago I wasn’t even eating.”
LaToya’s hope is what keeps her going. As she says, “It hasn’t always been an easy ride”, but despite this she has kept moving forward. The changes she has been able to make in the past year give LaToya hope that she can continue on this path for success in her own life, while also playing her part in making her larger community a safe and loving place.
We engaged a team of consultants to help us formerly evaluate the Northside Supportive Housing for Families program. The final report was delivered in March 2016.
Here is what we’ve learned from the evaluation:
• Participants are more likely to work full-time jobs with benefits the longer they are in the program. While many participants achieve regular work schedules of 35 hours or more, fewer are promoted to full-time work with benefits in this economy.
• Participants’ wages increase the longer they engage in the program. Clients are more likely to meet or exceed the $15 per hour program goal, the longer they have been in the program.
• Participants talked about how learning self-sufficiency skills have not only been valuable in helping them attain their goals, but that it has changed the way they see themselves. One woman said, “I have learned that I’m a hard worker. [I’m] saving money better, which is giving me different options.”
• Participants identified stability as their greatest success. This stability was related to housing, school and employment. One person said, “I have been here for almost 2 years, I have never lived somewhere for longer than a year and a half, so me coming up on this 2 year thing, feels like I succeeded in that, [I am ] stable now living here.”
• Participants reported that case workers are knowledgeable, available and follow through on their commitments to families. The approach of caseworkers was highlighted as a crucial factor in success. A participant noted, “[My caseworker] is very helpful, I love the resources that they provide for us, they make sure we stay on top of ourselves, so we don’t get behind.”